Are you that one person in the group who always gets attacked by mosquitoes during outdoor gatherings? While everyone else is relaxing and enjoying a beautiful evening, you spend your time applying insect repellent and swatting at your arms, eventually having to head indoors. What attracts mosquitoes, and what can you do to stop their bothersome nature?
Unfortunately, the mosquito population is not going anywhere. In fact, they are an essential part of the ecosystem. Male mosquitoes eat nectar and pollinate a variety of plants. Mosquito season is the feasting time for bats, reptiles, birds, and other insects since the mosquito is one of their food sources.
While pesky mosquitoes are a part of nature, they are a nuisance to humans and pets, spreading bacteria, viruses, and diseases like the West Nile virus and Dengue fever.
- What are Mosquitoes and Why are They a Nuisance?
- What are Mosquitoes Attracted to in the Yard?
- What Attracts Mosquitoes to Humans?
- What Colors Attract Mosquitoes?
- Plants that Repel and Attract Mosquitoes
- How to Make a Natural Mosquito Repellent
- What Should I Do if I Get a Mosquito Bite?
- Ways to Prevent Mosquitoes in the Yard
Ways to Prevent Mosquito Attraction
Luckily, there are ways to combat them and keep mosquito activity in check. The key to mosquito control is understanding their habits, what attracts these pests, and what repels them.
If you’ve noticed that you’re prone to mosquito landings more than other people, you’re on to something. Mosquito attraction is actually a thing, and there are a variety of conditions that draw these pests to an individual. So, what are mosquitoes attracted to in people?
The female mosquito hunts out human skin for blood, and many clues let them know exactly where to find it. They seek shelter and mating and are drawn by specific elements, like color and scent. Learn what colors attract mosquitoes and which smells lure them to the area and find tips for keeping them at bay.
What are Mosquitoes and Why are They a Nuisance?
We’re all familiar with the insistent buzzing of mosquitoes as they swarm around our heads and the itchy mosquito bites they leave in their wake while dining on our blood. But, what are these insects exactly, and why are they such a problem?
Mosquitoes are flying insects that feed on the blood of humans and other animals. While mosquitoes feed on us, they are not technically parasites since they do not live on their hosts, but that doesn’t make them any more appealing.
There are over 3,500 types of these bugs worldwide, from the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) to the Western encephalitis mosquito (Culex tarsalis). Some of them are nuisance mosquitoes that bite, causing itching and swelling of the skin.
Others are vectors, spreading pathogens to humans and animals, resulting in illness. The mosquitoes are infected with viruses like West Nile after biting infected hosts, and they spread it to others while feeding.
Adult mosquitoes live two to four weeks, depending on the type and living conditions, and females live longer than males. The female mosquito bites people to get a blood meal, which is necessary to produce eggs. Male mosquitoes prefer plant juices and nectar.
Females lay their eggs in or near a water source, and the eggs hatch to reveal the mosquito larva. The larva lives in the water, feeding while it develops into the third stage. Finally, it emerges from the pupal stage, and the adult mosquito starts the next life cycle.
What are Mosquitoes Attracted to in the Yard?
Why do mosquitoes hang out in some areas more than others, and what are mosquitoes attracted to in the yard? Explore some of the more common things that attract mosquito pests to help you avoid an infestation.
There are two different food sources that mosquitoes seek. The foods that attract mosquitoes depend on whether they are male or female. Males seek nectar to survive, and females require blood to produce eggs for another cycle of mosquitoes.
Water is essential to mosquitoes, and undisturbed sources draw them like magnets. They need water with little or no flow for the early stages of growth. Mosquitoes often lay their eggs in standing water or tall grass alongside lakes, ponds, marshes, and swamps.
What Attracts Mosquitoes to Humans?
You may know that standing water is a magnet for many insects, but what attracts mosquitoes to humans? The female mosquito is drawn to you for several reasons, from sweat to body heat. Discover why some people are more susceptible to these pests than others.
One of the main reasons mosquitoes are attracted to humans and animals is that we all release carbon dioxide, uric acid, and lactic acid.
However, there are other things that their receptors pick up on when searching for food, like body odor and heat. Additionally, they are drawn to the smell of deodorant, floral-scented lotion, sweat, and even smelly feet.
What you eat affects the smell you emit, and things like beer and Limburger cheese lure these pests to you. Your metabolism also plays a role, and those with a higher metabolic rate and warmer body temperature tend to attract mosquitoes.
A pregnant woman has more issues with mosquitoes than a non pregnant woman due to the chemicals their bodies release during pregnancy. Your blood type and genetics factor into the number of pests you attract since mosquitoes seem to have a taste for type O blood.
What Colors Attract Mosquitoes?
Did you know that mosquitoes are attracted to some colors more than others? Your clothing choices may be one of the reasons you get attacked by them more frequently. It’s a great idea to learn what colors attract mosquitoes before your next outing to ensure adult mosquitoes do not notice you.
Mosquitoes and Colors
One of the things mosquitoes search for is the red-orange color our skin emits, signifying a possible blood source. This is a color to avoid wearing while spending time outdoors.
Other colors that catch the attention of these pests are dark clothing like black, blue, and navy. Instead, try wearing white, green, or purple while outside to ward off mosquitoes, and you may find they pass you by while searching for food.
Plants that Repel and Attract Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes cannot stand many plants, and they avoid areas where they grow, while other plants are more inviting, drawing the pests to the space. To keep your yard mosquito-free, avoid plants that attract mosquitoes and grow those that deter them instead.
Various plants attract mosquitoes and different types of small flies, and it is best to avoid planting them around your outdoor seating area. These include flowers, water hyacinths, water lilies, taro, water lettuce, and papyrus.
On the other hand, many plants deter these insects from your space, from herbs to flowering plants. Marigolds and ageratums are flowers that add beauty to the yard. They contain Pyrethrum and coumarin, common ingredients in mosquito repellents.
Basil and rosemary are useful for repelling mosquitoes, and they both keep your kitchen stocked with flavorful seasonings.
Lavender emits a relaxing scent that these bugs cannot stand, and catnip is more effective at deterring mosquitoes than DEET, and your cat will thank you. Lemon balm has citronella compounds, and it grows well in a patio planter.
How to Make a Natural Mosquito Repellent
Knowing what attracts mosquitoes goes a long way to keep them from biting your skin. However, it’s sometimes impossible to avoid their activity, and other measures are necessary.
While it’s easy to use a commercial mosquito repellent, many of these products contain DEET, which may harm you and the environment. This homemade repellent is a natural way to deter the female mosquito.
To make this homemade mosquito spray for yards or people, pour half a cup of water and a half cup of witch hazel into a glass spray bottle and add 40 drops of lemon eucalyptus essential oil. Use glass rather than plastic since the oils break down the plastic material.
Shake the bottle well and use it as needed. This mosquito repellent is not child or pet-friendly, so use caution when applying the spray.
What Should I Do if I Get a Mosquito Bite?
Discovering a mosquito bite after spending the afternoon outside is usually not cause for concern. However, some people are allergic to these bites and have a stronger reaction. Here are some tips for relieving the itch and welt of a mosquito bite.
As soon as you find a mosquito bite, clean the area with mild soap and water and pat it dry. Apply an ice pack for about 10 minutes to reduce itching and swelling. Reapply as needed for ten-minute intervals.
To help with the itchiness of the bite, make a natural paste by combining some baking soda and a little bit of water and rub the mixture over the affected area. If you prefer, apply an over-the-counter antihistamine as directed by the manufacturer.
Ways to Prevent Mosquitoes in the Yard
No one wants to go through the troublesome process of preparing to go outside by spraying themself from head to toe with insect repellent. Fortunately, there are easy steps to take before and after you venture outdoors, making it less inviting to mosquitoes and more enjoyable for you.
Mosquitoes are more active at dusk as the sun is setting. Avoid wearing scented body products, such as deodorant, lotion, perfume, and body washes when you plan to spend extended periods outdoors during this time. Wear pants and long sleeve shirts to lessen the chance of mosquito bites, and choose light-colored clothing instead of dark colors.
Mosquitoes enjoy resting in shady areas during the hottest part of the day, and shrubs offer them protection. Pruning hedges and bushes not only keeps your yard tidy but encourages these pests to find another yard. It’s important to mow your lawn weekly since tall grass is an inviting place for the bugs to hang out when not active.
For one way to keep mosquitoes away from porch and patio, consider switching your outdoor lighting from white or bluish lights to yellow bulbs to lessen the number of bugs around your home. Never allow stagnant water to accumulate. Standing water in birdbaths, gutters, old tires, pots, pool covers, and other water collectors are breeding grounds for the female mosquito.
If you have water features like a small pond, it may be infested by mosquitoes. Treat them with a mosquito dunk or mosquito larvicide to kill mosquito eggs. If the pond is large enough, consider stocking it with fish that eat mosquito larvae. Treat your swimming pool or hot tub with chlorine and keep it covered when not in use.
If you have a patio area where you frequent, consider placing fans on one side to blow the mosquitoes away. These bugs are weak flyers, and the fan breeze makes it difficult to maintain flight. The moving air also blows away the scent of your body and breath, which confuses the insects.
Grow plants around the areas where you spend the most time outdoors, such as the backyard, porch, or patio. Some good choices for deterring mosquitoes are lemon eucalyptus, lavender, lemon balm, rosemary, basil, and catnip.
Grow them in a garden bed around the sitting area or plant them in pots and move them to the desired location as required.
Always keep a natural mosquito spray handy when spending time outdoors. If you reside next to a large body of water or wooded area, consider calling pest control to deal with a mosquito infestation.
As much as we hate mosquitoes, they play a crucial role in nature and are necessary. However, that doesn’t mean we must share their company in the backyard. It’s easy to keep them at bay by maintaining a tidy yard, wearing the proper colored clothing, and avoiding certain scents.
Now that you know what attracts mosquitoes so you get to enjoy your outdoor activities, why not share our mosquito attraction and prevention guide with the outdoor enthusiasts in your life on Pinterest and Facebook?